EZH2: Epigenetic Signaling, Stem Cell Maintenance and Oncogenesis Made Easy

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 12:41

The polycomb group (PcG) protein, enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) is a methyl-transferase that plays a key role in transcriptional gene repression. EZH2 is frequently overexpressed in several malignant tumors, and is often associated with advanced disease stage in many solid tumors. Increased EZH2 levels were detected by Western blotting using anti-EZH2 antibodies in human pancreatic cancer cell lines, suggesting aberrant cell growth and invasiveness (1). EZH2 protein was overexpressed in invasive carcinomas compared to benign breast carcinomas as detected by immunohistochemistry using anti-EZH2 antibodies, suggesting a link between EZH2 and high grade and basal tumors (2).

Immunohistochemistry-Paraffin: KMT6/EZH2

Furthermore, silencing of EZH2 also resulted in decreased cell growth and invasion in solid tumors. EZH2 is also essential in maintaining stem cells by globally repressing differentiation programs. Analogously, it plays a key role in oncogenesis by targeting signaling molecules that control cell differentiation (3). Emerging data indicates that EZH2 promotes cancer formation and progression through epigenetic activation of oncogenic signaling cascades and inhibition of pro-differentiation pathways.

  1. PMID: 21761309
  2. PMID: 22527102
  3. PMID: 21175789

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